As a professional assistant, you may have cause to create or refine business proposals. Either for a boss, a client or yourself.
For more complicated projects, this could be done with paid software or even in Microsoft Word, of course. But if the matter is simpler, this is a task PowerPoint can handle.
If you’re new in business or just starting out as a VA, it is a way to make your proposals stand out from a plain text document. My online course will help to show you how.
Here are some elements you will want to consider when putting it all together.
This is like a cover page. It states who the proposal is for and includes a name for the project.
You can include a logo or branding on this page. You could add a background image or simply use plain text with brand colours.
Keep this short and sweet.
You greet the prospect or client and let them know the context. It could be something as simple as this.
“Hey Angela, great to speak with you last week. Based on your conversation, here is the proposed way forward with this project.”
This maintains a personal touch yet doesn’t lapse into waffle. You are getting down to business in a professional manner.
If you have been listening well during the conversation with the client or prospect, you will know what their challenges and needs are.
This is the time to put all that down in a clear, concise summary. As the person reads this section they should be giving verbal nods, recognising that you’ve captured and covered it all with accuracy and understanding.
You could use bullet points here but make sure you think of this as part of their business story. See the Challenge or ‘Needs’ section as part of the overall story – and write it that way. Give it some flow and punch.
Time for you to provide the answer and explain why you, your product or your services are the solution to the client’s challenge.
You can add a bit of a profile of yourself, setting out relevant experience, knowledge, qualifications and skills. But don’t go overboard.
You want to focus on your solution. This is where you set out what you will do to achieve the solution.
The Solution section provides the specific outline of the product, service or other ‘answer’ to the challenge or need.
For creating a series of eBooks, for example, a professional assistant might have a process that includes research and discovery, writing, reviewing and editing, and graphic design stages.
You would set those out so the prospect or client can see what’s involved and how you approach the task.
Some clients, especially in the business world, might ask you to lay out the factors which may be involved or required for the successful completion of the project.
Examples of factors include the setting of a clear project goal, budget, planning and preparation, communications and potential risks.
It is also useful to set out what constitutes the completion of the project. When will both parties know that it’s all done?
Clients typically want to know when a project can be completed by or have a timeline in mind. It’s something that should have been raised and covered in the initial conversation.
This is the section where you put all that information down. Some timings may be fixed, some flexible. Where a deadline is critical, you should also set down what delays or other consequences it can have on the project completion.
This is a proposal. Timings in real life can shift. Having something in the document to acknowledge that is no bad thing. It adds some protection and reassures the client you understand the nature of the work.
This is the section where some freelancers and business owners can get a little nervous. There’s no need to be.
When you consider how much you have put into the previous sections, it will reaffirm the value of your proposed solution.
What you plan to charge is entirely down to you. If you’re creating a proposal for a boss or client, they’ll give you the numbers.
The important thing is to set out the fees and charges in a clear and simple way. At this critical stage of the document, you don’t want to confuse or frustrate the reader.
Just spell it out for them.
Here’s the solution. Here’s the price. Here’s the breakdown of the total.
If you’re including any discounts or special rates in the deal, make sure they are clear as well.
This is where you give information about how that fee or price is going to be paid.
Is it 100 per cent upfront? Is it half now, half on completion? Are there multiple-stage payments?
Set it all out in a logical fashion.
So, you’ve set out your proposal. It’s now time to let the prospect or client know what to do next.
Guide them. Tell them what to do if they accept your proposal. Explain what to do if they don’t accept it.
Offer to answer any questions if it helps them to decide.
Terms and Conditions
The small print is important.
It protects you. It protects the client.
Sometimes the wording on a legal T&C document can be long. If so, one option would be to place it in a PDF and attach it with the proposal in PowerPoint.
Setting it Out on Slides
Once you have the words for your proposal, you can set them out – together with any visuals – in PowerPoint.
You can send the file as an attached document or place it in a secure shared area (such as OneDrive for Business, Dropbox or Google Drive).
If you want to get to grips with PowerPoint, a good starting point is to Master the Slide Master. This shows you how to handle themes, templates, layouts, design and the look of the presentation.
To cover all your bases and really master PowerPoint for proposals and other visual projects, my ‘perfect’ course is for you.
Keep it simple. Keep it structured. Keep it relevant to the reader throughout.
Follow this advice and you’ll probably find those proposal conversation rates start to rise.